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Military Rule and Russian Mercenaries in the Sahel

 In this episode of Hold Your Fire!, Richard is joined by Crisis Group’s Sahel director, Jean-Hervé Jezequel, to discuss the decision of military leaders in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger to withdraw from the regional bloc ECOWAS, their campaigns against jihadist insurgencies, backed by Russian mercenaries and what might lie ahead for the region. They unpack the strained relationship between the three countries and West African and Western capitals and their seemingly closer relations to Moscow. They look at how military leaders’ rhetoric emphasising their sovereignty has won support among parts of the population but also its limits in terms of enabling them to deliver the basic services that citizens need. They discuss whether the Sahel’s new authorities might at some point talk to jihadist militants. They also assess the risks of further coups in the region.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more on the topics discussed in this episode, check out our latest report “Northern Mali: Return to Dialogue” and our Sahel country page.